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Seven Islands Land Company Records, 1794-1967, 1981, undated

Identifier: MSS 931

Scope and Content Note

The Seven Islands Land Company records contain land ownership documentation, field work and exploration notes, business records, and wills and trusts that can be used to further track land the Pingree's legacy of land ownership. The majority of this collection is made up of records that were created before the establishment of Seven Islands, and would have been collected or inherited by them and used as reference for the Company's work, except for a few items which were created after Seven Islands was established. The materials cover land in both Maine and New Hampshire. Some of the items or their original wrappings (original from when they were organized and transferred by Seven Islands) have stickers with numbers on them. These numbers were used by Seven Islands for identification when the materials were packed up and moved from Seven Islands Land Company offices to the Essex Institute; the packing lists can be found in the control file.

Series I. Land Deeds and Titles contains land deeds and abstracts of titles of land owned, bought, sold, or managed by David Pingree, E. S. Coe, or their agents. Some of the deeds and titles have been arranged alphabetically, others have been arranged by location; the documents have been left in the original arrangement in which they were deposited (alphabetically or by location). Subseries A. Deeds and Abstracts of Titles contains land deeds and abstracts of titles of land owned, bought, sold, or managed. The first set of deeds and abstracts of titles have been arranged alphabetically and an index for these can be found in the box 1, folder 1. Within these alphabetized deeds and abstracts of titles, letters with larger amounts of materials have been further divided geographically. Before the abstracts of titles and memos start, there is a folder titled "Summary of abstracts of titles and memos" which contains a detailed description of what can be found within the abstracts of titles and memos. Subseries B. Deeds and Abstracts of Titles Indexed in 1953 contains an alphabetical list of copies of deeds and abstracts of titles that were indexed in 1953. These materials were not integrated into the other deeds and abstracts of titles because of their having been indexed; they are arranged in alphabetical order. It is unclear who indexed these records or why. Subseries C. Abstracts of Titles and Memos contains abstracts of titles and memos from land in Northern Maine, which was indexed by location. It is unclear who indexed these or when it was done.

Series II. Field Work and Exploration contains field and exploration notes taken by surveyors and agents, sketches, surveys, maps, correspondence, and related business papers. The exploration notes, surveys, and maps appear to have been completed by agents working for David Pingree and/or for E. S. Coe. Subseries A. Field and Exploration Notes contain field work and exploration notes in the form of bound volumes and loose papers. All of the volumes and notebooks were numbered by Seven Islands before their transfer to the museum; these numbers are not the same as the numbers listed in this finding aid, but do correspond to the numbers on the original packing lists (found in the control file before the start of the Pingree collection). Some of the notebooks are missing their contents or are missing from the series. Notebook numbers seven and thirty (original numbers) are missing their contents. Any missing notebooks were removed before they were transferred to the Museum from Seven Islands. There are some sketches and maps within this subseries that have notes and other correspondence attached to them, which is why they have been left in this subseries instead of being added to the next subseries.

Subseries B. Maps, Sketches and Surveys contains maps, sketches, and surveys of land tracts created by agents working for David Pingree and/or for E. S. Coe. The materials have been organized into these categories: Maine, New Hampshire, and miscellaneous or unknown. Subseries C. Other contains materials related to the field work and exploration of lands. This includes estimates, reports, specifications, advertisements for equipment needed, land appraisals, and other related papers. The contents of folder "Information and instructions for aerial mapping and volume measurement" were removed from a plastic binder; the items have been left in their original order.

Series III. Other Business Records contains financial records, correspondence, and other miscellaneous business records. Subseries A. Financial Records contains materials concerning taxes, land valuation for taxes, uncollected accounts, and payroll information. Subseries B. Correspondence contains correspondence and memoranda. Within this subseries is a wooden card file drawer that contains indexed letter references. It is not immediately clear to what correspondence this index is referring, as the correspondence in this collection is very limited. It is possible that the correspondence it refers to is filed within the land deeds and titles, or that the correspondence was not transferred to the museum. Subseries C. Other contains company charters, acts to incorporate, legislative information, committee reports, and some other miscellaneous items. Included within this series is a list of questions that were asked of Stephen Wheatland about his business practices, and what appear to be answers given. Also included within this subseries is a photograph of E. S. Coe.

Series IV. Wills and Trusts contains copies of wills of Pingree family members and their descendants. These wills and trusts help to explain the legacy of land ownership that has helped to form the land ownership under Seven Islands Land Company. Also included in this series are materials related to the trust under the will of Ann Maria Wheatland involving the Great Northern Paper Company.


  • Creation: 1794-1967, 1981, undated


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Historical Sketch

The Pingree family's land ownership began with David Pingree (1795-1863), a Salem shipping magnate who, upon seeing the decline of Salem's maritime industry, began to invest heavily in land ownership in New Hampshire and Maine in the early 1840s. In the maritime tradition of pooling resources so that no one captain would be ruined by a natural disaster, Pingree made many of his purchases with other individuals, purchasing land that was to be held "in common and undivided" (Maine Woods Company website). Pingree and his partners, namely E. S. Coe, invested in multiple corporations in Maine that built dams, booms, and bridges to ease the movement of lumber to the markets (MSS 901). At the start of the twentieth century, when other families were selling their land tracts to corporations who in turn used the land to supply lumber and paper mills, the Pingree family maintained ownership of its tracts of land, and became partners with the corporations (Maine Woods Company website).

Seven Islands Land Company is a Maine-based forestland resource and management company that was formed in 1964 by John Sinclair (Conkling 2) for the purpose of "long-term sustainable stewardship of the Pingree forest" (Seven Islands Land Company website). The name of the company comes from at least three different clusters of islands on different rivers all within the ownership of the Pingree family (Maine Woods Company website). Not long after its establishment, Seven Islands began to remove itself from joint property ownership in northwest Maine and move towards wholly-owned land (McAllister). What started as two million acres of jointly owned land became one million acres of wholly-owned land, all centrally managed under Seven Islands (Maine Woods Company).

Throughout its existence Seven Islands Land Company has worked to use sustainable, environmentally sound practices. In the summer and fall of 1993, an in-depth study of the company's practices was done by an outside company to evaluate its forest management practices. The company was certified as a "Well-Managed Forest", becoming the largest certified forest in the northern hemisphere, undergoing annual audits and recertification. Today they are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and in 1999 their lands were certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) (Seven Islands Land Company website).


33.5 linear feet (33 boxes; 7 flat files; volume)

Language of Materials



The Seven Islands Land Company records contain land ownership documentation, field work and exploration notes, business records, and wills and trusts that can be used to further track land the Pingree's legacy of land ownership.

Series List

SERIES I. Land Deeds and Titles

  • A. Deeds and Abstracts of Titles
  • B. Deeds and Abstracts of Titles Indexed in 1953
  • C. Abstracts of Titles and Memos
SERIES II. Field Work and Exploration
  • A. Field and Exploration Notes
  • B. Maps, Sketches, and Surveys
  • C. Other
SERIES III. Other Business Records
  • A. Financial Records
  • B. Correspondence
  • C. Other
SERIES IV. Wills and Trusts

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was donated by Pingree family heirs and was transferred to the museum from Seven Islands Land Company over many years. Some of the materials arrived in 1972. Additional items were transferred to the Essex Institute in 1981. The final donation arrived in November 1985 from Pingree Associates and Seven Islands Land Company (accession #85026).

21 volumes of Acts and Resolves of the State of Maine, covering various years, were removed from this collection and added to the Library's print collection. 15 volumes of Maine State Valuations, covering various years, were removed from this collection and added to the Library's print collection.

A framed photograph of Eben S. Coe (1814-1899) was donated by Seven Islands Land Company on December 14, 1981.



Conkling, Philip. "For the Trees: A History of Maine's Forestland." Maine, July 2014. Accessed August 27, 2015.

Maine Woods Company. "History of Our Land Base." Accessed August 27, 2015.

McAllister, Jim. "Maine Holdings of Salem's Pingree Family Now Part of Major Conservation Trust." Essex County Chronicles, February 21, 2011. Accessed September 18, 2015.

David Pingree (1795-1863) Papers. MSS 901

Seven Islands Land Company. "Sustainability in Practice." Accessed August 21, 2015. Related Collections

East Branch Dam Company Records, 1845-1919. MSS 915

Jackson Iron Manufacturing Company Records, 1832-1888. MSS 910

James Wingate Sewall Business Records, 1835-1916. MSS 921

John Winn Papers, 1818, 1845-1881. MSS 925

Mount Washington Summit Road Company Records, 1796-1967. MSS 911

Piscataquis Land Company Records, 1934-1940. MSS 930

Samuel Smith Papers, 1844-1850, 1865. MSS 926

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, August 2015.

SEVEN ISLANDS LAND COMPANY RECORDS, 1794-1967, 1981, undated
Processed by: Hilary Streifer; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Script of description
The processing of this collection was funded by gifts from the Pingree heirs.

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA